Live Theater

Arts Eclectic
2:33 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

'Industry Night' Is an Old-School Variety Show

Chris Gibson is, by his own admission, obsessed with Dean Martin. And he has a particular interest in Martin's work in television, where he hosted a popular variety show for nine years beginning in 1965. It's shows like The Dean Martin Show and the later, slightly more kid-friendly The Muppet Show that inspired the new live theater variety show Industry Night.

Hosted by Gibson and his fellow Rat Pack fans Cami Alys and Kenny Redding Jr., Industry Night is a throwback to the old school variety show format, where the hosts and the audience all have a couple of drinks and enjoy the show together. There's always sketch comedy and songs from Cami and Kenny, and each show features guest performers including singers, dancers, comics, improvisers, jugglers, and more.

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Arts Eclectic
9:26 am
Wed July 16, 2014

'All's Well That Ends Well' at Dougherty Arts Center

In the works of William Shakespeare, there are comedies, there are tragedies, there are histories, and then there are the problem plays. These are the plays that defy easy categorization; they tend to have complex themes and ambiguous tones.

All's Well That Ends Well is one such play. It's possibly Shakespeare's darkest comedy, dealing not just with love and mistaken identity like many of his comedic works, but also with war and gender issues. 

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Arts Eclectic
1:05 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

See 'Cosmicomics' at the Long Center

Cosmicomics is the latest aerial show from the folks at Sky Candy. Produced in collaboration with writer/director Rudy Ramirez, it's an acrobatic theater version of the much-loved short story collection of the same name by Italian author Italo Calvino.

The stories, first published in 1965, each begin with a scientific fact or theory and from there spin a fantastical yarn based upon it. In Calvino's world, humans used to jump to the moon to gather cheese and pasta is the reason for human existence.

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arts eclectic
2:23 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Relive the '80s with 'punkplay'

If you're looking for a play with live music, live animals, and a healthy dose of '80s nostalgia, punkplay might be the show for you. The coming-of-age tale is set in the American suburbia of thirty years ago, in the age the cold war, Ronald Reagan, and punk rock.

The play (by Gregory Moss) centers around two teenage boys, Mickey, a disaffected high school student, and Duck, an angry young runaway who befriends him. Their lives and relationship are changed by their exposure to a vinyl punk record.

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Arts Eclectic
10:01 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Enjoy 'Silence!' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

The Silence of the Lambs won a ton of awards after its 1991 theatrical release, including five Oscars. But there will still some who felt the story would have been better served if it included a little more singing and dancing. And those people are finally in luck, because they can now enjoy a version of the crime drama that doesn't skimp when it comes to lavish musical numbers.

Silence! The Musical is an unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs; it started life as an internet musical in 2003 and was so popular online that it was eventually expanded into a full length show that debuted Off Broadway in 2011. Like the original movie version of the story, Silence! was well-received by critics and won a handful of awards.

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Arts Eclectic
2:25 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Celebrate 'BettyFest' Every Thursday in June

Every Thursday this month, Coldtowne Theater will host BettyFest, which is billed as “a Night of Comedy by Comedians Who Happen to be Female.”  It's  a full night of comedy by folks with two X chromosomes, which is of course the chromosome where comedy is stored.

Each show will be hosted by a different stand-up comic and feature a rotating roster of opening improv acts along with headlining  improv troupe Patio Talk.

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Arts Eclectic
11:55 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Enjoy Free Shakespeare in the Park

For the past three decades, Austin Shakespeare has partnered with the city to present free Shakespeare in Zilker Park. This year, they're finally producing a free-in-the-park version of artistic director Ann Ciccolella's personal favorite Shakespearean play, As You Like It.

It's one of the bard's most joyous works, including hallmarks of Shakespearean comedy such as mistaken identity, cross-dressing, and the search for true love. As You Like It features some of Shakespeare's best-loved characters and most memorable scenes, and in true romantic comedy fashion, a happy ending that includes no fewer than four weddings.

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Arts Eclectic
9:40 am
Thu May 22, 2014

See 'Chicago' in a Lounge Setting

  M. Scott Tatum and Julianna E. Wright have been producing theater together since their high school days. Their partnership continued through college and eventually culminated in the formation of their production company, Half and Half Productions.

The latest show from Half and Half, co-directed by Scott and Julianna, is the classic musical Chicago. Chicago's been onstage in Austin a few times as part of Broadway Across America, and there have been a handful of school productions of it, but this is, perhaps surprisingly, the first professional, locally-produced version presented to Austin audiences.

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Arts Eclectic
10:14 am
Wed May 14, 2014

See Children's Theater from Pollyanna Theatre Company

Austin's Pollyanna Theatre Company specializes in theater for young audiences. And in addition to creating original theatrical works for children, they also believe in theater as a teaching tool.

To that end, they stage shows in cooperation with the Long Center, which are aimed at young children and their families, and also venture into local schools for performances and education.

Their latest play, Plus and Minus: The Vacation Adventure by Katherine Gee Perrone, revisits popular characters Addy Plus and Minus Takeaway and teaches lessons about both math and acceptance.

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Arts Eclectic
1:51 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Austin's Homeless Ask 'Am I Invisible?' in New Art Project

Am I Invisible? is an ongoing art project written and performed by members of Austin’s homeless population. It  explores their lives through video presentations, monologues and other performances. 

The project began last year when video artist Roni Chelben began facilitating video workshops at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. It led to a series of videos featuring members of Austin's homeless community, and eventually a live show based on the lives of its participants. 

Am I Invisible? incorporates all these elements, including the video segments, performances, and live monologues written by homeless members of our community, inspired by their lives.

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Arts Eclectic
3:06 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Forklift Danceworks' 'Play Ball!' Benefits Historic Downs Field

Forklift Danceworks is known for their large scale projects, which tend to feature real people performing dances that are based on their actual jobs. They've done performances with sanitation workers ("The Trash Project") and Austin Energy employees ("PowerUP"), among others. 

Their newest project is "Play Ball!," a baseball-inspired dance which will be performed by the players and coaches of the Huston-Tillotson Rams. The dance will be performed on (and also benefit) Austin's historic Downs Field, which during its decades-long history has been home to not just the Rams, but also several semi-pro teams and at least two Negro League baseball teams. Among the many legendary ballplayers to play on the field are Satchel Paige, Willie Wells, Willie Mays, and Buck O'Neil.

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Arts Eclectic
10:16 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Get Inspired at the Austin Mini Maker Faire

A few years ago, Austin was one of the homes of the annual Maker Faire, a two-day celebration of arts and crafts, creativity, and all kinds of do-it-yourself projects. The Maker Faire eventually stopped coming to Austin, but after a brief hiatus, the Austin Mini Maker Faire arrived to fill the void.

Aside from being only a one-day rather than two-day event, the Mini Maker Faire is "mini" in name only. It's still a huge event, with dozens of workshops, talks, hands-on activities, and performances taking place in the name of creativity and fun. The chief difference between the new mini fair and the old full-sized fair is that these days, most of the Makers actually hail from Austin or Central Texas locals instead of from the larger world.

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Arts Eclectic
11:23 am
Tue April 22, 2014

See 100 Comedians at the Moontower Festival

Now in its third year, the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is quickly becoming one of the largest comedy festivals in America. For this year's fest, around 100 comedians will come together from Austin and around the world to perform dozens of shows, including sketch, improv, and lots of standup comedey.

Headliners include The Kids in The Hall, Hannibal Buress, Mike Birbiglia, Maria Bamford and more. They'll perform at the Paramount Theatre, while several smaller venues host shows nearby.

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Arts Eclectic
1:52 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Be a Part of the Latest Version of 'The Intergalactic Nemesis'

There have been many incarnations of The Intergalactic Nemesis over the years. The 1930s era science fiction story started life as a live radio serial staged in a coffee shop, then became an actual radio serial that ran right here on KUT many years ago. Then there was a revised version of the stage show, then a comic book series, and finally a live action graphic novel, which combines all the previous elements into a large-scale show that has toured the world.

But it’s never been captured for the screen until now. This Saturday at the old Austin City Limits Studio, The Intergalactic Nemesis will tape its newest incarnation before a live audience. The show will go back to its radio serial roots in a way, as it becomes a series of short web videos produced by KLRU and PBS. It'll also be available as a TV broadcast and a DVD.

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Arts Eclectic
10:35 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Soubrette Productions Presents 'Assassins'

For only their second outing, young theater company Soubrette Productions is taking on a challenging show: Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, a musical that examines the motivations behind the actions of attempted and successful assassins of American presidents. It's long been a controversial work, as it examines the history of and parallels between the men and women who were convinced that their violent actions were justified or even necessary.

The subject matter isn't the only difficult aspect of Assassins. It's also a pretty elaborate production, with a large principal cast and detailed costuming, sets, and props. All of this makes the production a challenge for the folks of Soubrette, but a challenge they were eager to undertake.

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Arts Eclectic
2:29 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Fusebox Festival Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Producer Ron Berry created the Fusebox Festival a decade ago as a way to foster communication between Austin's arts scene and the national and international artistic community. The conversation he started way back then is still going strong; Fusebox has grown every year and this year celebrates its tenth anniversary.

As has usually been the case, this year's festival will feature hundreds of artists and performers, with roughly a third of them hailing from Austin, a third from the rest of the USA, and a third from other countries. What is different about this year's festival is that all events will be free to the public (although for some shows, reservations are required).

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Arts Eclectic
2:06 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

'The Drawer Boy' Returns to Hyde Park Theatre

Michael Stuart, Jon Cook, and Ken Webster in 'The Drawer Boy'

Ten years ago, Hyde Park Theatre produced The Drawer Boy to great acclaim. Michael Stuart, one third of the three-person cast, took home a Critic's Table Award for best actor; Ken Webster won the B. Iden Payne best director award. It was also named Outstanding Drama by one group and Outstanding Comedy by the other. "It's that kind of script," Webster says.

Now they’re restaging the play, which centers on a young theater student who comes to study and work with two middle aged Canadian farmers. Stuart is returning to his role as Angus, a decade older and closer to actual age of the character. Webster is directing again, and this time also acting, as the curmudgeonly farmer Morgan.

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Arts Eclectic
9:19 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Jaston Williams Asks, 'Is There Life After Lubbock?'

Believe it or not, musicians Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Jo Carol Pierce, and Kimmie Rhodes are all from the same Texas town, Lubbock. And actor and storyteller Jaston Williams, while not born in Lubbock, spent much of his formative years there, and still visits often. As he says, "I've got Lubbock in the blood. We've tried to do something about it, but once you've got it, you've got it."

That shared connection is the basis of the new show "Is There Life After Lubbock?", a free-form, loosely structured evening of humor, stories, and music taking the stage of the Stateside at the Paramount Theater this weekend. 

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Arts Eclectic
10:23 am
Tue February 11, 2014

'Little Red Chunari' is a New Take on a Classic Tale

Little Red Chunari is a new play from Scottish Rite Community and Children’s Theater. It’s a family friendly Bollywood-style adaptation of the classic tale “Little Red Riding Hood,” written by Prentice Riddle and Susan Gayle Todd.

The story originated years ago, when Riddle was in the habit of telling his children (who are of Indian descent) stories to pass the time on car trips. He'd usually pick an existing story and change it up a little to give it more of an Indian flavor; that's why Little Red wears a chunari (a multi-purpose scarf worn in much of South Asia) rather than a riding hood.

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Arts Eclectic
1:40 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Marc Pouhé Returns to the Stage as Othello

Sara Cormier and Marc Pouhé in 'Othello'

Othello is the latest production by Austin Shakespeare. This version of the classic play is directed by artistic director Ann Ciccolella and stars veteran actor Marc Pouhé in the title role.

It's Pouhé's second time playing Othello in an Austin Shakespeare production. He first played the role in 2005; since then, he's gone through some life changes, not the least of which was a battle with kidney failure. He's healthy now, but the illness kept him off the stage for a few years. Now ready to continue his acting career, Pouhé is playing Othello again, a little older and with a different outlook on life.

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